The 9 most gorgeous views of Florence
We spent an entire month in Florence and we know first hand this city is equally as beautiful as it is, at times, overwhelming. There's an incredible amount of tourist attractions, which directly correlates to the absurd number of tourists flocking to the city. Deciding on where you want to visit, combined with navigating Firenze's busy streets and fighting the hoards of people looking for Renaissance art, can be daunting. But then there's people like us who aren't hung up on seeing each and every frescoed ceiling and centuries-old painting. Like many of you, we prefer to photograph cityscapes and side streets and always top the day off with a nice sunset view. That's why we created this list of the most picturesque views of Florence.
TIP: Sprinkled throughout this article are Google Maps links. Simply log in to your gmail account to save or "favorite" the locations you'd like to remember. If set up properly, it should sync to your phone too. Let's do this!
9. Ponte Vecchio & Arno bridge views
The Ponte Vecchio is the oldest bridge in Florence, with the original structure being built in 966 AD and rebuilt in the 14th century. Interestingly, it is the only bridge in Firenze the fleeing Germans did not destroy during WWII, making it extra special to Florentians.
As a perfect start to your visit, take a leisurely stroll through the famous Piazza Della Signoria towards the Ponte Vecchio - a bridge that has housed some of the region's finest gold and jewelry shops for hundreds of years. Walk along the Arno to get a close-up of the historic bridge. Window shop along and take pictures at the fountain at sunset.
Tip: Go early in the day if you want to avoid crowds. The closer you get to sunset, the more crowded the bridge gets.
Cross over the bridge to the Oltrarno (literally meaning other side of the Arno) and cut back across the Ponte Santa Trinita to get an often overlooked view of the Ponte Vecchio and the west end of the river.
8. Uffizi views
The Cafeteria terrace of the Uffizi Gallery offers a unique vantage point of Florence's most iconic landmarks, Il Duomo and Palazzo Vecchio. Here you can take a break from the hallways of Renaissance art and enjoy the shade of the towering clocktower overhead. Relax for a few minutes on the terrace - skip the pricey food, though.
Our favorite view of the Arno is from the Uffizi Gallery's great hallway, an inconspicuous window here provides the very best vantage point of the Ponte Vecchio and Ponte San Trinita.
7. Balcony on the JJ Cathedral Pub
An unassuming find, JJ's Cathedral Pub not only serves one of our favorite Irish beers, Kilkenny, but also offers two perfect seats located on the only public terrace overlooking Piazza Del Duomo. Grab a cold beer and watch the people, street performers, and horses mosey on by.
6. Campanile climb
Although not as a stunning as it's famed counterpart (Duomo Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore), the Campanile di Giotto bell tower climb is still an awe-inspiring view of Florence.
It's also a great alternative for families or people who may find the Duomo climb to be more challenging. The downside: you have to deal with the grill that obstructs the view of the city.
The upside: You can get shots of Il Duomo in your panoramas. It's a one-of-a-kind vantage point of the dome, if you can figure out how to work around the grates of course.
Jump off the bus and head to the top of town to the panoramic terrace. Here you get a 180 degree view of the sprawling city below that fades into the green hillsides of the Arno Valley. Hike up just a little further and check out the 14th-century Franciscan San Francesca Monastery. The church holds mass daily and hosts a free ethnological museum displaying international relics.
Bonus: The walk from Fiesole down to the Convent of San Domenico through the stunning vicolos and vias shows visitors a rare side of Florence - a region untouched by the influence of tourism. It’s a peaceful, authentic and beautiful 20 minute walk down to the next village. When you reach the San Domenico Convent, you can hop on the #7 bus to head back into the city.
4. Boboli Gardens & Fort Belvedere
Known for being the second or third home of the Renaissance's most influential and affluent family, Boboli Gardens of the Palazzo Pitti not only offers beautiful landscaping, sculptures, and architecture, but also provides stunning views of Florence and the green Tuscan hillsides behind it.
Hike to the top towards Fort Belvedere where the rose garden and Porcelain Museum are located. From here you can snap photos of the churches and castles that line the quintessential Tuscan hills.
Equally as stunning as Boboli Gardens but without the gorgeous landscaping, Forte di Belvedere offers a similar view but with a little higher vantage point. Here you can walk amongst the 13th century walls built to protect the Medici family from the turmoil inside and outside of the city.
3. Piazzale Michelangelo
If you're in Florence for only a day, take the bus here. If you're in Florence for a month, head to Piazzale Michelangelo a few times over. A favorite past-time among tourists and locals alike is to grab a bottle of wine and watch the sun descend into the Arno.
And nothing truly embodies the spirit of the people of Florence quite like bronze statue of The David in Piazza Michelangelo. Standing tall overlooking the sea of red tile roofs from across the river, the David captures the confidence, determination, and grit the people of Florence possess to lead the world as they have for hundreds of years.
Sunsets are special in so many places, but few have views like this. Make sure to add this place to your bucketlist.
2. Il Duomo climb
Known as the Cupola del Duomo di Firenze or Duomo Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore or just simply "Il Duomo," this structure serves as Florence's most iconic landmark. Built by Fillipo Brunelleschi, the architectural prowess of this structure still baffles architects and historians to this day. In profession, Brunelleschi was the a goldsmith, not an architect, but a genius nonetheless. His Duomo is Florence's most iconic building, attracting millions of visitors a year.
Tips:Buy the 15 euro ticket that gets you into the Baptistery, Duomo Museum, Giotti's Campanile bell tower and cathedral. You must reserve the strenuous climb a few days in advance. To truly appreciate the scale of this masterpiece, do your research and read your guidebooks prior to the climb. You won't have time to read during.
WARNING: Now this experience is not for the faint of heart, claustrophobic, toddlers or people who fear heights. The 463 steps are steep and the hallways narrow. While we saw one couple carry an infant to the top, we opted to do this climb separately, sans toddler. It was a great decision. Don't miss it!
1. Grand Prize WINNER: San Miniato Church
With the highest vantage point in the city, San Miniato and Palazzo dei Vescovi has it all: history, cultural & religious significance, beautiful landscaping and a panoramic view unlike anywhere in Firenze. Stand at the piazza above the cemetery and snap away.
High enough to view the Tuscan hillsides above all of Florence's landmarks (the Duomo, bell tower, Palazzo Vecchio, Santa Maria Novella, Santa Croce and more).
Tips: The walk up is tough, but entirely worth it. If you're there around 17:30, you'll likely hear Gregorian chants during an entirely Latin-spoken mass held there nightly. It's a great spot for family and group shots too (think, Holiday cards). Afterwards you can walk straight to Piazzale Michelangelo and take more pictures.
Thank you for joining us on this tour of Florence. If you have any recommendations on best views in Firenze, please tell us in the comments. Grazie mille!